Category Archives: Literature and Translation

Mona Lisa Covergirl

Emma Barron’s just-published Popular High Culture in Italian Media, 1950-1970 (Palgrave, 2018) is an essential and engaging contribution to the study of Italian mass culture. The book’s subtitle, ‘Mona Lisa Covergirl’, points to the originality of its theme: how Italian high culture was deployed to create a distinctive form of mass culture in the post-1945 expansion of television and popular magazines. Pasolini and Quasimodo providing advice to readers of Tempo (Pasolini: ‘The letters are enjoyable: some of them even give me a profound joy, even if as brief as a flash’),  Mike Bongiorno promoting knowledge of the classics through Lascia o raddoppia? (15 million viewers weekly), Il barbiere di Siviglia as the first opera to be transmitted on Italian tv (1954, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini), Giacomo Puccini endorsing Odol mouthwash (‘Lodo l’ODOL, LO DOLce licor che LO DOLore del dente scaccia di sovente’), Shakespeare’s lines used to sell pasta (Barilla), liquor (Amaretto di Saronno) and chocolates (Baci Perugina), I promessi sposi drawing mass tv audiences (19 million) and readerships (magazines, fotoromanzi, comics) – this study of the intertwining of the classic and the contemporary provides a fresh and productive account of the development of Italian mass culture.

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The Leopard at 60

The 60th anniversary of the publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s The Leopard will be celebrated at the University of Melbourne on 12-14 November 2018. On 12 November the writer Simonetta Agnello-Hornby will give an open public lecture, The North and South in 20th Century Italy and the Effect of ‘The Leopard’ in Sicily and in Europe, examining the impact of di Lampedusa’s major work, in book and film (Visconti, 1963) form, in Sicily itself and on European views of Sicilians. The lecture, 5.30-6.30pm in the Forum Theatre (North Wing), Arts West Building (153), at the University of Melbourne, is the prelude to a 2-day symposium, Sicily, Italy and the Supranational Cultural Imaginary, convened by Mark Nicholls (Melbourne), Gregoria Manzin (La Trobe), Annamaria Pagliaro (Monash) and Agnese Bresin (Melbourne and La Trobe) on 13-14 November, 10.00am-5.00pm at the Interactive Cinema, Arts West 353, at the University of Melbourne. The symposium, open to all, will cover many aspects of di Lampedusa’s work, along with analyses of Visconti’s film  and a variety of Sicilian texts, art works and historical events. Registration for the lecture is here. For further information on the lecture and the symposium, contact Mark Nicholls.   Continue reading

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The book, the photo and the stork

Photos move us. They enable us to travel virtually to wherever the scene is captured. They also move us by provoking emotions unleashed by the picture. Travel photography illustrates this double power especially clearly as Giorgia Alù argues in her just-published Journeys Exposed: Women’s Writing, Photography and Mobility (Routledge, 2018). The writers and photographers analysed (Melania Mazzucco, Ornela Vorpsi, Monika Bulaj, Carla Cerati, Elena Gianini Belotti and Anna Maria Riccardi) are variously related to Italy: Italians, Italophones, migrants or expatriates to Italy, or through hyphenated adjectives of nationality, as Italian-American or Italian-Australian. The book begins with an anecdote recounted by Karen Blixen. During a stormy night a man has to go out to fix a leakage in his pond’s dam. He stumbles around, falls over, and takes wrong paths but next morning he sees that the tracks his boots have left in the mud trace the outline of a stork. The stork provides an unsuspected unity for his apparently random movements but one which only becomes visible a posteriori and from a distance. Such traces expose the form of movements, underlying or unintended, in lives, texts and photographs but, like photographs, the form requires the technical processes of exposure to be seen.

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Address practices in Italian

 

The International Pragmatics Asssociation conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 9-14 June 2019, will include a panel on Address practices in Italian, convened by Agnese Bresin (University of Melbourne), now calling for paper proposals by 1 October 2018. Addressing each other is a complex operation, in which speakers position themselves and their interlocutors in some form of relationship. With their strong link to situational and cultural contexts and to basic demographic features of the interlocutors, address practices reveal perceived identities and human relations as well as wider social changes. The under-explored Italian case is of particular interest in this field of study for a number of reasons: the status and geographical distribution of “voi” in relation to “tu” and “lei”, the significant diatopic variation expected, and the complex relationship between regional varieties of Italian and the so-called ‘Italian dialects’.
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‘An Eye on Italy’: analysing Italian visual culture

A selection of papers from a conference in Adelaide in late 2016, An Eye on Italy: Continuities and transformations in Italian visual culture, has just been published in the online journal FULGOR (vol.5, no.3, June 2018). As the editors (Luciana d’Arcangeli, Sally Hill and Claire Kennedy) note, the theme of violence recurs in most of the papers: Claudia Bernardi’s analysis of Fernando Di Leo’s adaptation of Scerbanenco’s I ragazzi del massacro (1968); Luciana d’Arcangeli’s examination of the place of women in Matteo Garrone’s noir films; Brigid Maher’s exploration of the representation in the film and comic-book versions of Massimo Carlotto’s Arrivederci amore, ciao; and Barbara Pezzotti’s comparison of the film and tv versions of Giancarlo De Cataldo’s Romanzo criminale (2002), focusing on the representation of the Bologna station massacre of 1980. The issue, all of which is directly accessible, is completed by Sally Hill’s consideration of the relation between maternity and disability in recent Italian films and by a short interview with De Cataldo.

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Conversazione con Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Patrizia Sambuco

I suoi romanzi in breve tempo hanno portato Donatella Di Pietrantonio al centro del panorama letterario italiano. Il primo, Mia madre è un fiume (2011), ha ricevuto diversi premi; il secondo, Bella mia, candidato al Premio Strega, ottiene il Premio Brancati 2014; e nel 2017 L’Arminuta ha vinto il Premio Campiello. Nonostante questa progressiva visibilità e l’evidente successo di pubblico, Di Pietrantonio ha spesso affermato di fare fatica a considerarsi una scrittrice. La sua abitudine alla scrittura si è sempre svolta parallelamente alla sua professione di dentista; infatti la scrittura è stata per lei un hobby coltivato sin da bambina piuttosto che l’attuazione di una professione ricercata. Nella primavera 2018 ho parlato con lei dei suoi tre romanzi e della sua scrittura….. Continue reading

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Call for entries: Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019

We are now calling for entries for the Jo-Anne Duggan Prize 2019 which honours Jo-Anne’s memory and work. She left one of the richest and most compelling collections of photographs by any Australian artist to engage with Italian culture, history and art. Her work, exemplifying what she called her ‘postcolonial eye’, demonstrates remarkable breadth, covering public spaces/places of Italian diaspora in Australia, enquiries into the re-contextualisation and museification of Renaissance art, Australian archives of Italian migration, and complex case studies on the legacy of the Gonzagas. The guidelines for entries for the 2019 Prize can be found here, accompanied by guidelines for the exegesis for creative works, a list of links to Jo-Anne’s writings, and her CV which includes a list of her exhibitions. The deadline for entries for the Prize is 29 October 2018. All enquiries should be directed to Catherine Dewhirst (USQ).

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Iris Origo remembered

In the latest issue  (8 February 2018) of the London Review of Books there’s a long review of Iris Origo’s The Merchant of Prato. Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City, first published in English in 1957, translated into Italian with an introduction by Luigi Einaudi in 1958 and now republished in English as a Penguin Classic. Its republication accompanies the reappearance of several of Origo’s books in 2017 thanks to the Pushkin Press: her well-known War in Val d’Orcia (1947; translated into Italian in 1968 with a preface by Piero Calamandrei), the previously unpublished A Chill in the Air dealing with the years 1939-1940, and her autobiography Images and Shadows: Part of a Life (1970).  Those three books convey brilliantly not only her family ancestry in Ireland and the USA but also her life in Italy; she grew up in Fiesole and moved to La Foce in southern Tuscany when she married Antonio Origo in 1924. La Foce was an unpromising half-ruined estate in the Val d’Orcia, 3500 hectares cultivated by mezzadri in 57 poor farms, which she and her husband determined, successfully,  to revive. Her books on Bernardino da Siena, Byron and Leopardi may have slipped from sight; but the accounts she left of her wartime years in La Foce are a lasting testimony to survival and solidarity in conditions of capricious power, lawlessness and extreme danger.

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Lectureship in Italian Studies at ANU

The Australian National University will appoint a Lecturer in Italian Studies (Level B, fixed term 3 years) who has an active research agenda in one or more of the following areas: translation studies; film and media studies, Italian literature, theatre and/or cultural studies, or cross-cultural communication. The position is located in the School of  Literature, Languages and Linguistics; the capacity to teach into the School’s other Modern European Language programs may be an advantage. The appointee will be expected to take on the role of Convenor of Italian Studies and contribute to the School’s teaching programs in Italian Studies and in his or her area of specialisation at all levels (undergraduate, Honours, MA and PhD).  The closing date for applications, submitted online here,  is 18 March 2018.   Continue reading

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Convivio: new edition and translation

Andrew Frisardi   Independent scholar

My edition and first fully-annotated translation of one of Dante’s ‘minor’ works, Convivio: A Dual-Language Critical Edition, has recently been published by Cambridge University Press. It is hard to explain in a few words what the Convivio, composed by Dante in exile between 1304 and 1307, is like since it is as unique as most of his works. Let me just say that Dante as the quintessential poet-scholar is his truly unpredictable poet-scholarly self in this book. He gives prose commentaries on three of his own long poems, which are in the book as well, and is mind-bogglingly innovative and visionary with what he does with that. I highly recommend it for an experience of what the poetic intelligence can do when it is operating on all levels, as well as for getting closer to Dante’s thought in the Divine Comedy.    Continue reading

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